Market movements and review video - April 2024

Market movements and review video - April 2024

Stay up to date with what's happened in markets and the Australian economy over the past month.

Expectations of interest rate cuts later this year in Australia and the United States fuelled activity in the markets last month.

Australian shares reached a new record high at the end of the month, driven by mining shares with gold, iron ore and lithium all rebounding.

US markets also reached new highs during March, leaving the benchmark index up more than 10 percent so far in 2024.

Click the video below to view our update.

Please get in touch if you’d like assistance with your personal financial situation.

This article is intended as an information source only and to provide general information only. The comments, examples, words and extracts from legislation and other sources in this publication do not constitute legal advice, financial or tax advice and should not be relied upon as such. All readers should seek advice from a professional adviser regarding the application of any of the comments in this article to their particular situation.


Navigating Financial Uncertainty with Confidence

Navigating Financial Uncertainty with Confidence

A simple approach to making investment decisions during unpredictable times that can enhance your financial security.

Financial markets can be like finely tuned racehorses, poised to gallop ahead under ideal conditions but often highly reactive to unexpected events.

It’s often said that the markets love certainty.  On the other hand, investors feel more confident when economic conditions are stable and predictable.

But there is no such thing as certainty in financial conditions. Uncertainty is always just around the corner with the possibility of changes in interest rates, new laws or regulations, upheavals in overseas markets, a breakdown in Australia’s relationship with a major trading partner, and wars and political instability.

As a result, stability and predictability are most often fleeting with peaks and troughs in prices inevitable.

Look at the past few years. Between 2020 and 2022, we were dealing with the side effects of COVID-19 on the economy and markets. Since 2022, interest rate rises, increases in the cost of living and conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East have caused further market volatility.

This year, global political stability may be affecting markets with almost 50 per cent of the world’s population due to head to the polls to choose new governments including the United States, India, Russia, South Korea and the European Union.i Interest rate movements in Australia and overseas are another focus.

In this dynamic environment, investors find themselves grappling with crucial decisions about how to safeguard and optimise their portfolios.

It could be useful to know that making hasty decisions, reacting quickly to the latest event, may not be the best move.

Consider the performance of various assets classes over 24 years. If you had invested $10,000 in a basket of Australian shares on 1 February 2000, for example, your portfolio would have been worth $67,717 at 31 January 2024, delivering a return of 8.3 per cent each year.ii The same amount invested in international shares over the period would have provided a 5.4 per cent annual return with your portfolio then at $35,373.

US investment advisers Dimensional have calculated the risk to a portfolio of being out of the market for even a short period.

An investment of US$1,000 in 1998 of stocks that make up the Russell 3000 Index, a broad US stock benchmark in 1998, would have turned into U$6356 for the 25 years to 31 December 2022. But if you had decided to sell up during the best week, before later reinvesting, the value would have dropped to $5,304. Miss the three best months, which ended June 22, 2020, and the total return dwindles to $4,480.iii

In other words, reacting to events by quickly selling up can have an unwelcome effect on your portfolio.

Trying to time the market by identifying the best and worst days to buy and sell is almost impossible. Investing for the long-term in a well-diversified portfolio can better suit some investors.

Historically, long-term investors who have weathered short-term storms have been rewarded. Markets have shown they tend to recover over time, and a diversified portfolio allows investors to capture the upside when conditions improve.

And there’s a bonus. The compounding effect of returns over an extended period can significantly enhance the overall performance of a portfolio if they are reinvested.

Why diversify?

Different asset classes – such as shares, bonds and cash – perform differently at different times.

By diversifying investments across different asset classes, regions and companies, can work towards reducing the effect of a poorly performing asset on the overall portfolio, providing a buffer against volatility and lowering risk.

Appreciating the lessons learned from the past while also understanding that past performance may not predict future performance, is a helpful way of navigating the uncertainties of the global markets.

We can help you stay committed to a robust investment strategy, design a portfolio that meets your objectives and help navigate the complexities of the markets. Reach out to us to help you invest confidently.

Market uncertainty caused by key historical events

Source: Vanguard Digital Index Chartiv

Missed opportunity

Source: Dimension Funds Advisorsiii

i The Ultimate Election Year: All the Elections Around the World in 2024 - Elections Around the World in 2024 | TIME
ii https://insights.vanguard.com.au/VolatilityIndexChart/ui/retail.html
iii What Happens When You Fail at Market Timing | Dimensional
iv Vanguard Index Volatility Charts

This article is intended as an information source only and to provide general information only. The comments, examples, words and extracts from legislation and other sources in this publication do not constitute legal advice, financial or tax advice and should not be relied upon as such. All readers should seek advice from a professional adviser regarding the application of any of the comments in this article to their particular situation.


2023 in Australia: Economic Review, Inflation, Interest Rates and Property Market

2023 in Australia: Economic Review, Inflation, Interest Rates and Property Market

The Australian economy in 2023 faced a dynamic landscape, marked by key developments in inflation, interest rates, and the property market. This review delves into the economic trends and their impact, offering insights into Australia's performance amidst global economic fluctuations. Understanding these factors is crucial for investors

Some had expected an end to the Reserve Bank’s continued cash rate rises during the year. Instead, inflation has been a stubborn foe and we saw five rate rises, adding another 1.25%. But there was good news for property investors with an increase in prices in some cities.

On another positive note, superannuation funds bounced back after losses in 2022.i SuperRatings reported that the median balanced option is expected to return 9.6% in 2023, after most funds produced negative returns the previous year.

*Year to September, ^September quarter # November
Sources: RBA, ABS, Westpac Melbourne Institute, Trading Economics

The big picture

Global economic forecasts for 2023 were also beset by a number of wild cards during the year. While many economists were predicting recession in the United States and Europe and a rebound in China, the year ended differently with no recession in the US, Europe struggling but doing better than expected and China still battling some headwinds.

October brought concerns of a wider Middle East conflict, the International Monetary Fund revising its outlooks for the region, saying that an escalation of the conflict could be far-reaching, affecting tourism, trade, and investment.ii

Inflation and interest rates in Australia for 2023

In Australia, economic growth slowed a little on 2022’s result but still delivered a better return than forecast. On the latest data available from the end of September, the economy grew by 2.1% although a larger-than-expected increase in the population is putting extra pressure on housing and prices, keeping inflation higher.iii It was the eighth quarter in a row of economic growth.

Inflation remains high but many believe we have seen the end of interest rate rises for 2024. The latest figures show the rate of inflation dropped from 4.9% in October to 4.3% in November.

New dwelling prices rose 5.5% in the 12 months to November while rents rose 7.1%. Electricity prices were up by 10.7% for the year and food and non-alcoholic beverages increased by 4.6%.

The Reserve Bank raised the cash rate five times in 2023 to finish the year at 4.35%.iv

Sharemarkets

Global sharemarkets ended 2023 on a more positive note. In the US, welcome news from the Federal Reserve of an end to rate hikes saw stocks and bonds soar in the final weeks of the year. During the year, the Dow Jones index increased by 13.7% and the Nasdaq by 43.4%. There was mixed news in Asian markets with a jump of 28.2% on the Nikkei 225 and 18.7% on India’s BSE Sensex but China’s Shanghai Compositive fell 3.7% and the Straits Times index of Singapore was down 0.3%.v

Australia’s sharemarket may not have experienced the heady double-digit returns of some global markets but it ended the year with a gain of almost 8%, marking its best performance since 2021.vi

Commodities

Despite big falls from the peaks of 2022, commodity prices remain high across the board.

Iron ore, Australia’s biggest export, rose more than 21% as the Chinese government continues to create strong demand by stimulating property and infrastructure development.

Oil prices saw some spikes during the year but steadied by December. However, the World Bank notes that conflict in the Middle East, on top of the disruptions caused by the war in Ukraine, could cause a major oil price shock, pushing global commodity markets into uncharted waters.vii

As the US dollar gathers strength and Australia’s high inflation figures persist, the Australian dollar is under pressure. It ended the year where it began after recovering from a slide in the second half of the year.

Australian Property market in 2023

While rising interest rates usually dampen property prices, by year’s end we saw a remarkable turnaround for some cities in another result that upended forecasts.

CoreLogic’s national Home Value Index rose 8.1% in 2023, up from the 4.9% drop in 2022 but not quite at the stellar 24.5% increase recorded in 2021.viii

It was a patchy performance across the country. House prices rose at more than 1% every month on average in Perth, Adelaide, and Brisbane in the second half of the year. While Melbourne values dropped in November and December, Sydney and Canberra prices barely moved, and Hobart and Darwin prices fell slightly.

Looking ahead

As floods and storms ravage the eastern states and bushfires break out in the west, another tumultuous Australian summer might be mirrored by a chaotic year for the economy both in Australia and overseas.

The RBA expects economic growth to remain subdued but resilient in 2024, largely supported by construction and infrastructure work. Meanwhile the rebound in international students and tourism is expected to contribute to robust growth in consumer spending.ix The RBA is also confident that inflation will continue to fall slightly throughout the year, but many predict at least one more cash rate increase during the year.

Worldwide, China’s spluttering economy and the outcome of the US presidential election may cause ripple effects across the globe, meanwhile markets will be nervously watching the conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine as well as China’s threat to blockade Taiwan, for the potential to create broader economic challenges.

Whatever the year ahead brings, we are here for you. If you would like to discuss your investment strategy in the light of prevailing economic conditions, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Note: all share market figures are live prices as at 31 December 2023 sourced from: https://tradingeconomics.com/stocks

i https://www.afr.com/policy/tax-and-super/super-balances-grow-almost-10pc-thanks-to-tech-rally-20240103-p5euwb
ii https://www.imf.org/en/Blogs/Articles/2023/12/01/middle-east-conflict-risks-reshaping-the-regions-economies
iii https://www.abs.gov.au/media-centre/media-releases/australian-economy-grew-02-cent-september-quarter
iv Monthly CPI indicator rose 4.3% annually to November 2023 | Australian Bureau of Statistics (abs.gov.au)
v https://www.businesstoday.in/markets/story/global-market-performance-heres-how-global-equity-markets-major-currencies-performed-in-2023-411391-2023-12-31
vi https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-12-29/asx-markets-business-live-news-dec29-2023/103271578
vii October 2023 Commodity Markets Outlook: Under the Shadow of Geopolitical Risks [EN/AR/RU/ZH] - World | ReliefWeb
viii https://www.corelogic.com.au/news-research/news/2023/australian-home-values-surge-in-2023
ix https://www.rba.gov.au/speeches/2023/sp-ag-2023-11-13.html

This article is intended as an information source only and to provide general information only. The comments, examples, words and extracts from legislation and other sources in this publication do not constitute legal advice, financial or tax advice and should not be relied upon as such. All readers should seek advice from a professional adviser regarding the application of any of the comments in this article to their particular situation.


Market movement & review video - September 2023

Market movement & review video - September 2023

Stay up to date with what's happened in Australian markets over the past month.

After endless gloomy forecasts, there was a glimmer of hope last month that the cost of living might be easing.

Inflation continued to fall, despite predictions by economists of a rise.

The ASX200 ended the month down with gains in financial stocks being offset by losses in mining and energy shares because of their dependency on China.

Click the video below to view our September update.

Please get in touch if you’d like assistance with your personal financial situation.

This article is intended as an information source only and to provide general information only. The comments, examples, words and extracts from legislation and other sources in this publication do not constitute legal advice, financial or tax advice and should not be relied upon as such. All readers should seek advice from a professional adviser regarding the application of any of the comments in this article to their particular situation.


Navigating the Waves: The Australian Dollar's Impact on Your Portfolio

Navigating the Waves: The Australian Dollar's Impact on Your Portfolio

The Australian dollar's journey since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic has been nothing short of a rollercoaster. Discover how its highs and lows can ripple through your investment portfolio.

March 2020 marked a significant moment as the Aussie dollar dipped below US58 cents, a level not seen in the past decade. Since then, a high of just over US77 cents in 2021 has been followed by a rollercoaster ride, mostly downhill.

In October 2022 the dollar plummeted to US61.9 cents, bounced its way back up to US71.3 cents in February this year but by mid-August it had slipped to a nine-month low at under US64 cents.i

Many analysts agree that further falls are on the cards with some even predicting the dollar could fall to as low as US40 cents within five years.ii

Factors Influencing the Australian Dollar's Movements

Given any currency’s susceptibility to changing economic conditions both at home and overseas, the Aussie has had quite a bit to deal with lately.
An uptick in interest rates can bolster the Australian dollar's appeal, especially if our rates outpace those of the US and other major economies.

If foreign investors buy more Australian assets because they can get a bigger return on their investment, more money flows into Australia which increases demand for Australian dollars. And if investors hold more Australian assets than overseas ones, less money leaves the country, decreasing supply. So, increased demand and decreased supply see the Australian dollar rise.

While the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has increased rates by 4 per cent in Australia since May last year as it battles to get inflation under control, rates have also been rising in the US.

The US Federal Reserve has undertaken its most aggressive rate-rising cycle in 40 years with rates now at a 22-year high and signs of further increases likely. This has put pressure on the Australian dollar, narrowing the difference between the US and Australian rates, meaning foreign investors will look for better returns elsewhere.

Economic Shifts and Their Impact on the Dollar

The value of the Australian dollar is also affected by changes in economic conditions as well as rises and falls in other financial markets. For example, in August news that the unemployment rate had increased slightly and an easing in wage price growth led to speculation that the RBA would put a hold on rates, putting a dampener on the Aussie.

Also affecting the dollar was a decline in US share markets in August, confirming the typical pattern of the Australian dollar falling when prices in equity markets drop.

Furthermore, the health of China's economy is intrinsically linked to the fluctuations of the Australian dollar. China is currently battling soaring unemployment, particularly among young people, falling land prices and a housing crisis, among other ills.

As Australia’s largest trading partner, both in terms of imports and exports, any slowdown in China means lower sales of our commodities and other goods and services and less investment in property and business.iii

The Ripple Effect: How Currency Changes Touch Our Lives

There are advantages and disadvantages of a falling Australian dollar. On the plus side, our exports will be more competitive because our customers will pay less for our goods and services compared with those produced overseas. Conversely, imported goods will be relatively more expensive.

There could also be an increase in tourism – the cost of travel in Australia will be cheaper for those coming from overseas. Unfortunately, those planning an overseas trip will need to find a significantly greater pile of Australian dollars to pay for airfares, accommodation and shopping.

For savvy investors, understanding the currency's influence on your portfolio is crucial.

For example, if you’re invested in Australian companies that rely on overseas earnings, look at how they handle their exposure to the currency risk. A lower dollar is good news for those with overseas operations and those that export goods. On the other hand, those that need to buy in components or products from overseas may suffer.

In any case, have a chat to us to look at the best way forward in these uncertain times. Stay informed and adapt your investment strategies with the changing tides of the Australian dollar. Reach out to our experts for tailored advice.

i https://tradingeconomics.com/australia/currency
ii https://www.news.com.au/finance/markets/australian-dollar/aussie-dollar-in-free-fall-amid-bloodbath/news-story/929165d65db4dc7d8a97bc7b27b5ab0d
iii https://www.aph.gov.au/about_parliament/parliamentary_departments/parliamentary_library/

This article is intended as an information source only and to provide general information only. The comments, examples, words and extracts from legislation and other sources in this publication do not constitute legal advice, financial or tax advice and should not be relied upon as such. All readers should seek advice from a professional adviser regarding the application of any of the comments in this article to their particular situation.


Iron Ore and Its Significant Influence on Australia's Economy

Iron Ore and Its Significant Influence on Australia's Economy

Australia's economic resilience, particularly during global crises, can be largely attributed to one key player: iron ore. This article examines the role of this commodity in bolstering Australia's economy.

Iron ore has been the linchpin of the Australian economy, shaping numerous investment portfolios throughout the 21st century

The Economic Impact of Iron Ore

In 2021, resources accounted for 68 per cent of Australia’s export revenue. This was the year that iron ore prices peaked at almost $US230 a tonne.i

Large quantities of iron ore were discovered in Australia as far back as 1822 in Tasmania. However, its growth as an export icon really took off with the first shipment of iron ore from the Pilbara in Western Australia in 1966.

The Role of Major Mining Companies

Currently, three major companies dominate iron ore mining in Australia – BHP, Rio Tinto, and Fortescue Minerals. Considered blue chip stocks, they are often favourites with investors and their share price performance is linked to iron ore prices. Together, these miners are responsible for 76 per cent of production in Western Australia and contribute to 38 per cent of global production.ii

Share of iron ore production by company, 2021

Source: GlobalData's Australia Iron Ore Mining to 2026 report

Iron ore’s importance worldwide stems from its use in steel, a key material used in infrastructure, housing and manufacturing equipment globally. Manufacturing includes such things as cars, ships, trains, trucks and pipelines. Iron ore is also used in cast iron and stainless steel which in turn have many applications.

China's Influence on Iron Ore Demand

China stands as the primary consumer of Australia’s iron ore. In 2022 China bought 1.1 million tonnes of iron ore, 65 per cent of which came from Australia.iii

The driving force powering this demand was the urbanisation and industrialisation of China. China actually produces more iron ore than Australia but it is at a much lower grade.

No wonder, Australia has been riding on iron ore’s back.

While demand is still high in China, Covid put a dampener on its economic growth when the country basically shut down for an extended period. Its strict measures did not start to roll back until December 2022 and investors began to worry.

While economic activity is slowly resuming, it has reduced significantly from its heady days. As a result, demand for iron ore has also fallen.

This has led to a significant drop in iron ore prices, falling to around $US100 a tonne from its peak of $US230 million in 2021.

Although China’s economy is not performing as energetically as it did a decade ago, Premier Li recently told the World Economic Forum that it was rolling out more measures to boost domestic demand.iv

This has triggered some optimism among market watchers, although there are still bears around who are more circumspect.

Global demand

It is not only in China where demand for iron ore is falling. The rest of the world is wrestling with recession and that too has put a dampener on the market.

Added to this slowdown in demand is the move to increase supply. The major Australian producers and Brazil’s Vale Mining have all got new projects and expansions on the horizon.v

Luckily, iron ore is relatively cheap to mine in Australia, costing Rio Tinto and BHP $US30 a tonne to produce, which means they are somewhat sheltered from price fluctuations. While Rio Tinto and BHP can remain profitable with prices dropping as low as $US60, lower prices will have a flow on effect, impacting superannuation balances, investor returns and the broader economy.vi

Iron ore price outlook, quarterly

Source: Bloomberg (2023), Department of Industry, Science and Resources (2023)

Impact on the economy

Unfortunately, lower profits mean the Australian Tax Office will also receive significantly lower revenue and that in turn will impact on the Australian economy.

While profits are still boosting the government’s coffers, the outlook is less bright.

The robustness of the Australian economy and the recent return to a budget surplus after 15 years of deficits can be largely attributed to the tax revenue from iron ore.

In fact, the federal government is expecting the surplus in 2022-23 to be a whopping $19 billion, significantly higher than the $4.2 million original forecast in the May Budget. Not all that growth is attributed to strong commodity prices, but they have certainly played a part.vii

Nevertheless, the domestic economy is still expected to slow as high inflation and global challenges make their mark.

Budget papers estimate that a $US10 per tonne increase in the Commonwealth’s assumed price for iron ore exports is expected to result in an increase in tax receipts of around $500 million in both 2023-24 and 2024-25.viii

But the federal government is still cautious about the economic outlook for Australia and are forecasting a return to a budget deficit and the possibility of a recession as the move to higher interest rates puts brakes on the economy.

Aside from economic performance, any reduction in revenue for the mining companies will also translate into lower dividends and lower price growth for investors.

Despite some market pessimism and increasing ethical and environmental concerns leading investors away from mining stocks, it's undeniable that iron ore remains a lucrative investment.

If you would like to discuss options for investment in the current economic climate, then give us a call.

i https://minerals.org.au/resources/record-high-for-resources-export-revenue/
ii https://www.mining-technology.com/data-insights/iron-ore-in-australia-2
iii https://edition.cnn.com/2023/05/05/economy/australia-china-exports-record-intl-hnk
iv https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/chinas-growth-be-higher-q2-projected-hit-annual-5-target-premier-li-2023-06-27/
v https://www.mining.com/iron-ore-price-expected-to-ease-over-next-5-years-on-slower-demand-growth-and-more-supply/
vi https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-05-30/australian-iron-ore-boom-ending-after-china-rift/102408002
vii https://www.theguardian.com/business/2023/jun/30/australia-budget-surplus-swells-to-19bn-due-to-surging-tax-revenue
viii https://www.watoday.com.au/politics/western-australia/how-wa-s-resource-riches-helped-deliver-the-first-budget-surplus-in-15-years-20230509-p5d725.html

This article is intended as an information source only and to provide general information only. The comments, examples, words and extracts from legislation and other sources in this publication do not constitute legal advice, financial or tax advice and should not be relied upon as such. All readers should seek advice from a professional adviser regarding the application of any of the comments in this article to their particular situation.


Market movements & review video - May 2023

Market movements & review video - May 2023

In the lead up to the Federal Budget, better-than-expected inflation figures were cause for optimism that the lengthy run of cash rate hikes have had an impact.

US stocks in April saw the biggest rally that has been experienced for months, as investors looked beyond gloomy economic data.

Local markets were buoyed by the Wall Street rally, as well as welcome signs of inflation easing, with the ASX200 ending the month slightly higher.

Please get in touch if you’d like assistance with your personal financial situation.

This article is intended as an information source only and to provide general information only. The comments, examples, words and extracts from legislation and other sources in this publication do not constitute legal advice, financial or tax advice and should not be relied upon as such. All readers should seek advice from a professional adviser regarding the application of any of the comments in this article to their particular situation.


How do interest rates affect your investments

Navigating Rising Interest Rates: How Do They Impact Your Investments?

Navigating Rising Interest Rates: How Do They Impact Your Investments?

As interest rates continue to rise worldwide, as an investor, it's crucial to understand how rate fluctuations affect your portfolio. In this article, we'll explore the impact of rising interest rates on various types of investment and provide some insights to help you adjust your strategy in this challenging economic climate.

Interest rates are an important financial lever for world economies. They affect the cost of borrowing and the return on savings, and it makes them an integral part of the return on many investments. It can also affect the value of the currency, which has a further trickle-down effect on other investments.

So, when rates are low they can influence more business investment because it is cheaper to borrow. When rates are high or rising, economic activity slows. As a result, interest rate movements are also a useful tool to control inflation.

The Upward Trend of Interest Rates

For the past few years, interest rates have been close to zero or even in negative territory in some countries, but that all started to change in the last year or so.

Australia lagged other world economies when it came to increasing rates but since the rises began here last year, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has introduced hikes on a fairly regular basis. Indeed, the base rate has risen 3.5 per cent since June last year.

The key reason for the rises is the need to dampen inflation. The RBA has long aimed to keep inflation between the 2 and 3 per cent mark. Clearly, that benchmark has been sharply breached and now the consumer price index is well over 7 per cent a year.

The Dual Impact of Rising Interest Rates

There are two sides to rising interest rates. It hurts if you are a borrower, and it is generally welcomed if you are a saver.

But not all consequences of an interest rate rise are equal for investors and sometimes the extent of its impact may be more of a reflection of your approach to investment risk. If you are a conservative investor with cash making up a significant proportion of your portfolio, then rate rises may be welcome. On the other hand, if your portfolio is focussed on growth with most investments in say, shares and property, higher rates may start to erode the total value of your holdings.

Clearly this underlines the argument for diversity across your investments and an understanding of your goals in the short, medium, and long-term.

The Effect of Rising Rates on Share Prices

Higher interest rates tend to have a negative impact on share markets. While it may take time for the effect of higher rates to filter through to the economy, the sharemarket often reacts instantly as investors downgrade their outlook for future company growth.

In addition, shares are viewed as a higher risk investment than more conservative fixed interest options. So, if low risk fixed interest investments are delivering better returns, investors may switch to bonds.

But that does not mean stock prices fall across the board. Traditionally, value stocks such as banks, insurance companies and resources have performed better than growth stocks in this environment.i Also investors prefer stocks earning money today rather than those with a promise of future earnings.

But there are a lot of jitters in the sharemarket particularly in the wake of the failure of a number of mid-tier US banks. As a result, the traditional better performers are also struggling.

Fixed Income Strategies in a Rising Rate Environment

Fixed Income investments include government and semi-government bonds and corporate bonds. If you are invested in long-term bonds, then the outlook is not so rosy because the recent interest rates increases mean your current investments have lost value.

At the moment, fixed interest is experiencing an inverted yield curve, which means long term rates are lower than short term. Such a situation reflects investor uncertainty about potential economic growth and can be a key predictor of recession and deflation. Of course, this is not the only measure to determine the possibility of a recession and many commentators in Australia believe we may avoid this scenario.ii

How Higher Interest Rates Affect Property Investments

House prices have fallen from their peak in 2022, which is not surprising given the slackening demand as a result of higher mortgage rates.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed an annual 35 per cent drop in new investment loans earlier this year.iii

The changing times in Australia’s economic fortunes can lead to concern about whether you have the right investment mix. If you are unsure about your portfolio, then give us a call to discuss.

i https://www.ig.com/au/trading-strategies/what-are-the-effects-of-interest-rates-on-the-stock-market-220705
ii https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2023/02/inverted-yield-curve-predicts-australian-recession/
iii https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/economy/finance/lending-indicators/latest-release

This article is intended as an information source only and to provide general information only. The comments, examples, words and extracts from legislation and other sources in this publication do not constitute legal advice, financial or tax advice and should not be relied upon as such. All readers should seek advice from a professional adviser regarding the application of any of the comments in this article to their particular situation.


2022 Year in Review

2022: A Review of The Main Economic Developments

2022: A Review of The Main Economic Developments

Inflation and rising interest rates dominated the economic landscape. The year began optimistically, as we finally began to emerge from Covid restrictions. Russia threw a curve ball that reverberated around the world and suddenly people who hadn’t given a thought to the Reserve Bank were eagerly waiting for its monthly interest rate announcements.

2022 was the year of rising interest rates, surging inflation, war in Ukraine and recession fears. These factors created cost-of-living pressures for households and a downturn in share and bond markets.

Super funds suffered their first calendar year loss since 2011. Ratings group Chant West estimates the median growth fund fell about 4 per cent last year.i

The big picture

Even though investors have come to expect unpredictable markets, nobody could have predicted what unfolded in 2022. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February led to a global economy and investment markets shake up. It disrupted energy and food supplies, pushing up prices and inflation.

Inflation sits around 7 per cent in Australia and the US, with the Euro area around 11 per cent.ii
As a result, central banks began aggressively lifting interest rates.

Rising inflation and interest rates

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) lifted the cash rate from 0.1 per cent in May to 3.1 per cent in December,iii quickly flowing through to mortgage interest rates.

Australia remains in a better position than most, with unemployment below 3.5 per cent and wages growth of 3.1 per cent running well behind inflation.iv

Australia’s economic growth increased to 5.9% in the September quarterv before contracting to an estimated 3 per cent by year’s end.vi

Volatile share markets

Investors endured a nail-biting year.

Global shares plunged in October only to snap back late in the year on hopes that interest rates may be near their peak. The US market finished 19 per cent lower, due to exposure to high-tech stocks and the Federal Reserve’s aggressive interest rate hikes. Chinese shares were down 15 per cent as strict Covid lockdowns shut down much of its economy.

Australian shares performed well by comparison, down just 7 per cent.

Energy and utilities stocks were strong due to the impact of the war in Ukraine on oil and gas prices. The worst performers were information technology, real estate and consumer discretionary stocks due to cost-of-living pressures.

Property slowdown

After peaking in May, national home values fell sharply as the Reserve Bank began increasing interest rates. The CoreLogic home value index fell 5.3% in 2022, the first calendar year decline since the global financial crisis of 2008.

Sydney (-12 per cent), and Melbourne (-8 per cent) led the downturn. Bucking the trend, prices edged higher in Adelaide (up 10 per cent), Perth (3.6 per cent), Darwin (4.3 per cent).

Rental returns outpaced home prices, as interest rates, demographic shifts and low vacancy rates pushed rents up 10.2 per cent in 2022. Gross yields recovered to pre-Covid levels, rising to 3.78 per cent in December due to strong rental growth and falling housing values.

Despite the downturn, CoreLogic reports housing values generally remain above pre-COVID levels. At year end, capital cities combined were still 11.7 per cent above March 2020 levels, while regional markets were 32.2 per cent higher.

Looking ahead

While the outlook for 2023 remains challenging, there are signs that central banks are nearing the end of their rate hikes.

Issues for investors to watch out for in the year ahead are:

  • A protracted conflict in Ukraine
  • A new COVID wave in China disrupting supply chains further, and
  • Steeper than expected falls in Australian housing prices which could lead to forced sales and dampen consumer spending.

If you would like to discuss your investment strategy in the light of prevailing economic conditions, please get in touch.

Note: all share market figures are live prices as at 31 December 2022 sourced from: https://tradingeconomics.com/stocks.
All property figures are sourced from: https://www.corelogic.com.au/news-research/news/2022/corelogic-home-value-index-australian-housing-values-down-5.3-over-2022

i https://www.chantwest.com.au/resources/another-strong-month-for-super-funds-as-recovery-continues/

ii https://tradingeconomics.com/country-list/inflation-rate

iii https://www.rba.gov.au/statistics/cash-rate/

iv https://www.rba.gov.au/snapshots/economy-indicators-snapshot/

v https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/economy/national-accounts/australian-national-accounts-national-income-expenditure-and-product/latest-release

vi https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/smp/2022/nov/economic-outlook.html

This article is intended as an information source only and to provide general information only. The comments, examples, words and extracts from legislation and other sources in this publication do not constitute legal advice, financial or tax advice and should not be relied upon as such. All readers should seek advice from a professional adviser regarding the application of any of the comments in this article to their particular situation.


Buying shares for kids a gift that keeps on giving

The endless dividends of buying shares for kids

The endless dividends of buying shares for kids

Though many adults would like to help their kids and grandkids achieve financial security in their lives, the rewards of long-term investment can seem a very dull and hard concept to explain. However, research shows that many young people are eager to learn about money.

The recent Young People and Money survey by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission MoneySmart website found more than half of the 15-21-year-olds surveyed were interested in learning how to invest, and about different types of investments and possible risks and returns. What’s more, almost all those young people with at least one investment were interested enough to regularly check performance.

One way to introduce investment to children may be to begin a share portfolio on their behalf. The child can follow the progress of the companies they are investing in, understand how the market can fluctuate over the short- and long-term, as well as learn to deal with some of the paperwork required, such as filing tax returns.

How to begin

Setting up a share portfolio doesn’t need to be onerous. It’s possible to start with a minimum investment of around $500, using one of the online share trading platforms. Then you could consider topping it up every year or so with a further investment.

Deciding on which shares to buy comes down to the amount you have available to invest and perhaps your child’s interests.

If the initial investment is relatively small, an exchange traded fund (ETF) may be a useful way of accessing the hundreds of companies, bonds, commodity or theme the fund invests in, providing a more diversified portfolio.

ETFs are available in Australian and international shares; different sectors of the share market, such as mining; precious metals and commodities, such as gold; foreign and crypto currencies; and fixed interest investments, such as bonds. You can also invest in themes such as sustainability or market sectors such as video games that may appeal to young people.

Alternatively, buying shares in one company that your child strongly identifies with – like a popular pizza delivery firm, a surf brand or a toy manufacturer – may help keep them interested and excited about market movements.

Should you buy in your name or theirs

Since children cannot own shares in their own right, you may consider buying in your name with a plan to transfer the portfolio to the child when they turn 18. But be aware that you will pay capital gains tax (CGT) on any profits made and the investments will be assessable in your annual income tax return.

On the other hand, you could buy the shares in trust for the child. While you are considered the legal owner the child is the beneficial owner. That way, when the child turns 18, you can transfer the shares to their name without paying CGT. Your online trading platform will have easy steps to follow to set up an account in trust for a minor.

There is also some annual tax paperwork to consider.

You can apply for a tax file number (TFN) for the child and quote that when buying the shares. If you don't quote a TFN, pay as you go tax will be withheld at 47 per cent from the unfranked amount of the dividend income. Be aware that if the shares earn more than $416 in a year, you will need to lodge a tax return for the child.

Taking it slowly

If you are not quite ready to invest cash but are keen to help your children to understand share investment, you could consider playing it safe by playing a sharemarket game, run by the ASX.

Participants invest $50,000 in virtual cash in the S&P/ASX200, a range of ETFs and a selection of companies. You can take part as an individual or a group and there is a chance to win prizes.

Another option, for children able to work independently, is the federal government money managed website. This is pitched at teens and provides a thorough grounding in savings and investment principles.

Call us if you would like to discuss how best to establish a share portfolio for your child, grandchild or a special young person in your life.

This article is intended as an information source only and to provide general information only. The comments, examples, words and extracts from legislation and other sources in this publication do not constitute legal advice, financial or tax advice and should not be relied upon as such. All readers should seek advice from a professional adviser regarding the application of any of the comments in this article to their particular situation.